After a filler episode, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returned to its roots this week: fighting those pesky robots intent on taking over the world. While the producers chose to name this episode “Alpine Fields,” the more apropos title was provided by my lovely wife when she said, “They should have called this episode, ‘Lots of switches.” The “switches” she refers to are time jumps, and the episode relies heavily on them to develop the story.

We begin in the present day where Derek (played by a very un-David Silver-like Brian Austin Green) is walking through an abandoned warehouse when he hears a scream. He finds a teenager administering care to a very bloody pregnant woman. He announces Sarah Connor has sent him and asks for their story. The girl and mother have been hunted by a cyborg for six months. It finally found them, killed their dad, and messed them up good, but they escaped. Derek looks at the girl and flashes forward to a memory where he knows her in the future.

Now let’s jump back six months to find out who the heck these folks are. The family is the Fields (Dad, Mom and teenage daughter Lauren) and they are just heading for a vacation in their wooded cabin. Imagine your nice little family vacation this summer. Then imagine Sarah Connor and Terminator Cameron busting into your home guns drawn, telling you that robots from the future are literally en route to your house to kill you, pleading with you to run with them, finally getting in the car, speeding out of Dodge only to have the cyborg hunting you crash into your car sending you limping back to the house. The big problem on my summer vacation was when to take my third nap of the day. While Cameron fights off the bad robot the rest of the crew hunkers down at the house and gets busy trying to figure out who exactly the robot is after and why.

Jump to the decimated world of the future. At a human resistance stronghold Derek and his commander talk about a bio-terror virus attack the machines unleashed on a bunker. They have word someone survived and Derek volunteers for the mission to head into the hot zone. While there he sees the carnage left by the machine virus. Dead bodies are piled up everywhere overwhelming him. He takes a much needed breather outside the bunker and encounters Jesse. For those that don’t remember Jesse is his future/present/ past girlfriend. This is their first meeting. I met my wife at a summer camp. They met in a virus-infected, machine-ravaged hellhole. Similarities anyone?

Back at the cabin with the Fields, Sarah tries to set a trap for the cyborg. She talks at length with Lauren who seems surprisingly unaffected by the whole situation. Teenagers (author sighs and shakes his head nostalgically). Dad works doing some shady work for a cybernetics firm, but the terminator isn’t after him. Instead it’s after the pregnant mom. Cameron comes flying through the window, (no one seems surprised by this) the trap goes kaput; the family hits the skids and successfully outruns the machine. I must say that this terminator has to be the slowest one in the batch.

We jump to the warehouse maternity ward. The baby is on the way and Derek lets on that he knows the little thing’s importance. Seems the coming baby (Sidney) was the lone survivor of the bio-attack in the future. She was immune to the disease and is crucial to the resistance’s ability to find a cure. No wonder she was on the machine naughty list.

In the future, Jesse and Derek find a teenage Sidney locked in the bunker. After discovering they have been infected by the virus they rush back to the resistance base and sit on their death beds. Before the virus takes full effect, the future Lauren Fields comes into the hospital with the cure. Sidney is there too and the lovers are saved.

This episode got back to what this show does best: Interweaving the importance of the present with the importance of the future in the fight against the machines. Although the episode jumped around a great deal, the story line was tight and entertaining. Looking forward to next week and story behind the machine that started it all.

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